Friday, January 15, 2010

NASA: Astronauts' urine clogs water recycling system on ISS


Astronauts' urine is clogging water recycling system on the International Space Station(ISS).NASA engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, who are investigating a trouble with the system, believed the source was a high concentration of calcium in the astronauts' urine.
The 250 million- U.S. dollar-system was set for processing urine into hygienic water for drinking.

On the other hand, scientists did not know whether the high calcium concentration is due to bone loss, a consequence of living in a zero-gravity environment, or other factors.

"Folks had excellent knowledge of the content of the urine going in, but the chemistry changes as it works through the processor are not always understood," said Julie Robinson, a scientist working on the project. There are a lot of parameters including urine calcium and pH (acidity) that everyone is glancing at.

The 100 billion-dollar-space station project involving 16 nations has been under construction 220 miles (about 354 km) beyond the Earth for more than a decade.
The media reports said it was fully examined by NASA before the urine recycler was started up in November 2008.

Engineers are hoping to come up with a fix in time to fly replacement parts out on the shuttle Endeavour, which is programmed for launch on Feb. 7 on a construction mission.

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